In your family there are certain values, beliefs, attitudes, rules and behaviors that are taught, demonstrated, and nurtured in order to help your children grow into responsible adults. In addition to those family values, there are behaviors that are considered dealbreakers. Certain behaviors are simply unacceptable. These values, beliefs, attitudes, rules, and behaviors define your “family culture” and, over time, the “family” becomes quite clear about the things that are most important.
This concept of creating a “team culture” works the same way. But, first, the leader must be clear about those values, attitudes and behaviors that are important to the team’s success. Believing that everyone is uniquely wired with extraordinary “super powers” that equips them to make a remarkable impact on the team, is the driving motivation for incorporating strengths-based development into your team’s culture!
If you haven’t thought much about your team culture, here’s your first opportunity to make a significant shift in your leadership!
But … defining, developing, and demonstrating your culture takes great clarity; the leader must ‘lead’ the team by demonstrating these values, attitudes, and behaviors; and, the leader must be consistent in communicating, nurturing, and holding the team accountable to these values.
In order to integrate (and sustain) a Strengths initiative within your team, you must first do some reflection, which will create an emotional connection to the benefits and payoffs of a strengths culture that will inspire, drive, and motivate you as you meet resistance.
Just know this … you can count on it … be assured … There. Will. Be. Resistance.
You will encounter resistance from yourself as you wonder if what you’re doing is working and is it really worth it the effort. Resistance from others as you challenge them to think and do things differently. Resistance because the team simply doesn’t understand how important this is to you and the ultimate success of the individuals and the team. Resistance because the team doesn’t understand that you believe and are committed to developing, utilizing, and celebrating every ounce of strength sitting at that conference table. Resistance simply because some people are WIRED to slow down, question and analyze before taking action.
When you encounter resistance, it doesn’t mean your efforts aren’t working! It just means “this is normal.”
Remember, a strengths approach to leading a team is a game changer! It affects every conversation in the office. Excellence becomes the new norm. The team demonstrates higher levels of emotional intelligence as they seek to develop strategic partnerships with other team members. Increased personal and team accountability are the outcomes.
Carve out 15 minutes on your schedule today and write your answers (free flow) to the five questions below. Don’t over think your answers or dismiss an idea as silly or unrealistic, or even stop before the 15 minutes is up. Push yourself to write down as many answers as possible in the allotted time.
Here are the five questions:
- What are the benefits or payoffs for the team once we successfully integrate Strengths into our culture?
- What successful outcomes would I hope to achieve? (Be specific)
- Fast forward 6 to 12 months after you have successfully integrated Strengths into your culture. Get a clear picture of your team (individually and collectively) operating in their Strengths Zone … together. What problems am I currently facing that have been resolved?
- As the leader of a stronger, higher-performing team, what benefits or personal payoffs am I (the leader) experiencing as a result?
- If I don’t integrate Strengths into my team’s culture, what is the result?
The final step in this challenge is to create a one-page Strengths Vision Board that focuses on the desired successful outcomes for yourself and your team. Post this somewhere close where you can see and refer back to it often!
Making this emotional connection to specific successful outcomes is exactly what will inspire and motivate you through the expected challenges and resistance. Otherwise, any organizational initiative you try to adopt, as positive as it may be, will fail.